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Aldermen delay vote on Villas, reverses sign code restriction

By Dennis Minich
While the resignation of Happy Welch as city administrator overshadowed most of the news at the Aug. 5 Harrisonville Board of Aldermen meeting, there were several other actions taken and some significant information provided.

The board was scheduled to vote a second time on a Timber Drive extension variance. The variance is the one which was incorrectly termed as passing in a vote of the board in 2017.
Developers of the Harrisonville Villas requested to not have to stub the street to the next property line, as required by city statute. The board voted 4-3 in favor of the variance, but that came up one vote short of the five necessary to pass an ordinance. However, then-mayor Brian Hasek incorrectly stated the vote passed and then-city attorney John Fairfield
presented an opinion backing up the mayor.
At its last meeting in July, an owner of the development, Debra Hart, said if the vote was reversed there would be no choice but to raise the rents of residents in the senior development. Several residents were on hand that night to speak fearing an increase in their monthly payments.

However, the vote last week was delayed, according to city attorney Steve Mauer, as a courtesy to Hart’s attorney who wishes to address the board, but was unavailable for the meeting. Mauer said he had spoken with the attorney and while they disputed the five-vote concept, the attorney did state since the development is rent controlled, regardless of the outcome, the residents’ rents could not be raised.
The board agreed to postpone the vote.
The board also overturned a part of the sign ordinance passed by the previous board earlier this year. It will now return the size of special banner signs to 32-square feet, the size which had previously been allowed.

Earlier this year, the board voted to limit signs to just six square feet. The change makes no restrictions on content, simply the size of the signs.
The board also approved rules for the burning of yard and vegetative waste in the city. Previously, in compliance with the state’s department of natural resources, open burning was prohibited in the city. However, the state recently rescinded the recommendations so the city came up with rules to govern burning.
Burning will be allowed from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in March through May and October through December unless a high wind warning or advisory has been issued.

The complete rules, including exceptions for bonfires, can be found on the city’s website or at city hall.

The board also approved a special-use permit for a solid waste transfer station on Anaconda Road. The site had previously been used for that purpose, but in recent years had been used as a mobile building
storage lot.
Requesting the 10-year permit was granted to Gale T. Holesman of American Waste Systems.
The board was told the facility should only have about 18 to 26 trucks per day and the facility is simply holding waste until it can be shipped to a landfill. The agreement included 14 conditions including stipulations for appearance and odors.

The board also agreed to purchases of new computers and an agreement with the city’s internet provider.
All votes passed 7-0. Alderman Matt Turner was absent.

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